Session 344

Paradoxical Tensions and Innovative Strategies

Track J

Date: Monday, September 22, 2014

Track X

Time: 16:30 – 17:45


Room: Paris

Session Chair:

  • Liisa Valikangas, Aalto University

Title: Constructive Alternativism, Bi-polarity and Duality in Kelly’s Personal Construct Theory: Capturing Organizational Paradoxes in Practice


  • Robert Wright, Hong Kong Polytechnic University
  • Devi Jankowicz, Retired

Abstract: Multiple competing demands jockey for our attention in organizational life. How managers respond to these tensions is fundamental to an organization’s fate. Psychologists have long advocated the cognitive nature of paradoxes. We advocate that Kelly’s (1955) philosophy of Constructive Alternativism holds great promise in getting managers to think more deeply about opposing tensions confronting their everyday strategic practice. In contributing to the paradox literature, we argue that Kelly’s bi-polarity of construing extends beyond (complex, not simple) “either/or” thinking to a much higher level “and/both” thinking. Using a pilot study with a senior executive, we demonstrate how a modified repertory grid questionnaire captures paradoxical thinking. In so doing, we provide an alternative approach to better understanding how strategy practitioners make sense of their everyday strategic tensions.

Title: Paradoxical Tensions and Innovation in Inter-organizational Strategies: A French Case Study


  • Audrey Missonier, Montpellier Business School
  • Anne-Sophie Thelisson, Montpellier Business School

Abstract: Through a French case study, this research aims at analyzing paradoxical tensions in inter-organizational strategies responding to the goal of creating a joint innovation. We proposed a reading grid to put in evidence all multiple paradoxical tensions that drive organizational change in the context of an innovative merger. We differentiated three levels of perception of paradoxical tensions: strategic intent, structure of the relationship, and partner relationships. We suggested that actors were able to establish a dynamic equilibrium because of the development of technological innovation.

Title: Purposive Imagination: Knowledge Vectors, Threshold Experiences and Strategic Experimentation in Growth of New Business


  • Arne Carlsen, BI Norwegian Business School
  • Liisa Valikangas, Aalto University

Abstract: How do people in organizations imagine new business opportunities? Based on a sample of ten cases we explore imagination in strategy creation as a purposive process of moving between everyday work experience and new business possibilities. Three interrelated key features of purposive imagination are outlined and exemplified: Strategic experimentations take place both in core and marginal activities. Threshold experiences are events of discovery and mastery that radically open up and/or strengthen new development. Knowledge vectors are emergent or deliberate growth trajectories extended from current business in pursuit of organic growth. Purposive imagination is rooted in practice, takes a narrative, temporal and dialogical character, and often carries identity questions: who are we in light of what we want to do and become?

Title: Where Do Innovative Capabilities Come From?


  • Shih-Chang Hung, National Tsing Hua University
  • Yung-Ching Tseng, Yuan Ze University

Abstract: This paper explores the origin and evolution of organizational innovative capabilities. Using a longitudinal, embedded case study, we analyze how the Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI) develops and advances its capability over time in line with a series of technology development projects from the 1970s to early 2010s. We emphasize that capability development hinges on the way organizations utilize their pre-existing capabilities and continually expand their capability path from the interaction with technology in context. The former speaks to the need for learning from experience, characterized by exploitation and improvisation, whereas the latter connotes the significance of learning through interaction, typified by exploration and leverage. We also indicate the significance of R&D investments in enabling organizations to manage the tension between experiential and interactive learning.

All Sessions in Track J...

Sun: 08:00 – 09:15
Session 252: Trends in Qualitative Strategy Research
Sun: 11:15 – 12:30
Session 392: Non-market Strategy Practice and Competitive Advantage
Sun: 17:15 – 18:30
Session 606: Strategy Practice IG Business Meeting
Mon: 08:00 – 09:15
Session 205: Strategy Making Dynamics
Session 338: Making Strategy, Strategic Change and the Role of Sensemaking and Sensegiving
Mon: 11:00 – 12:15
Session 340: Strategy Practice and Micro-foundations
Mon: 16:30 – 17:45
Session 206: The Role of Middle Managers in Strategy Processes
Session 344: Paradoxical Tensions and Innovative Strategies
Tue: 08:00 – 09:15
Session 345: Social Interaction and Boundaries in Strategy Practice
Tue: 11:00 – 12:15
Session 347: Critical Issues in Strategic Action
Tue: 15:30 – 16:45
Session 346: Management and Strategy Practices Reconsidered

All Sessions in Track X...

Sun: 13:45 – 14:30
Session 295: Keynote: Lifetime Achievement Award
Sun: 14:30 – 15:15
Session 471: Keynote: CK Prahalad Award
Sun: 15:45 – 17:00
Session 203: Acquisition Implementation
Session 215: Yikes: What Now (Reloaded)?: Firm Responses to Stakeholder Activism
Session 398: Corporate Strategy and Corporate Finance: Continuing the Research Conversation
Mon: 08:00 – 09:15
Session 260: IPRs, Appropriability and Innovation
Session 338: Making Strategy, Strategic Change and the Role of Sensemaking and Sensegiving
Mon: 09:30 – 10:30
Session 296: How Social Networks Create Competitive Advantage: The Microfoundations Reputation
Mon: 11:00 – 12:15
Session 213: What is In It For Us? How Sustainability Matters for Firm Strategy
Session 352: CEO Decision Making
Session 405: Multi-Sided Platform Strategies
Mon: 13:30 – 14:30
Session 4: Business Models in their Competitive Context
Session 5: Building Strategic States
Session 298: Using Networks to Shape Strategy
Session 299: Dealing with the Euro Area Economic Crisis: Strategic Adjustment in the Period of Turmoil
Session 300: Methodological and Conceptual Frontiers in the New World of Networks
Mon: 14:45 – 16:00
Session 368: Firm Scope and Industry Competition
Session 375: Changing External Environments: How do Multinationals Respond?
Mon: 16:30 – 17:45
Session 245: Human Capital Complementarities
Session 344: Paradoxical Tensions and Innovative Strategies
Tue: 08:00 – 09:15
Session 409: Increasing the Relevance of Strategy Research
Session 446: Empirical Studies and Case Studies of Business Models
Tue: 09:30 – 10:30
Session 297: Granularity of Profit
Tue: 11:00 – 12:15
Session 469: M&As and Innovation
Tue: 14:15 – 15:15
Session 301: Strategy Frameworks: In Quest of Relevance in a Turbulent World
Session 302: Directing Strategy: The Process Challenges of Formulating and Implementing Strategy in a World of Networks
Session 470: Governance Challenges in Globalized Networks
Session 473: Rethinking the Architecture of Global Corporations
Tue: 15:30 – 16:45
Session 208: Interactions, Recombination and Adaptation Processes
Session 346: Management and Strategy Practices Reconsidered
Tue: 17:15 – 18:30
Session 441: Funding Entrepreneurial Ventures: Sources and Successes

Strategic Management Society